Family and supporters of Rekia Boyd erupted into applause inside a Cook County courtroom Tuesday after a judge denied a request from Dante Servin, the former Chicago police detective who was charged and acquitted in her killing, to expunge any record of his criminal case from the public’s view.
In announcing his decision Tuesday, Judge LeRoy K. Martin Jr. said that just because Servin was found not guilty of involuntary manslaughter, that “does not make one innocent.” He based his ruling on the evidence prosecutors presented in the case in 2015, and the fact that the trial judge felt those facts better aligned with first-degree murder.
It’s been four and a half years since Sheku Bayoh died in Scottish police custody and now, for the first time, his family is allowing itself to hope they will get some answers.
“My brother was a much-loved father and family man and a well-liked member of his community,” said Kadijatu Johnson, Bayoh’s sister. “He didn’t deserve to die like this, and we as a family deserved better than to be treated in the way that we have been.”
Last week, after Scotland’s lord advocate confirmed that no charges would be brought against any of the nine police officers the family believe were involved, the Scottish government announced a rare, judge-led public inquiry into the circumstances surrounding Bayoh’s death.
The family of a Fife man who died in police custody said they felt “betrayed” after being told that no-one will be prosecuted over his death. Sheku Bayoh never regained consciousness after being restrained by officers in a Kirkcaldy street in 2015.
The 31-year-old, who had taken the drugs MDMA and Flakka, was found to have suffered 23 separate injuries.
His family said CCTV and phone footage cast doubt on claims made by officers about events leading up to his death. They have described the decision not to prosecute the officers as a “betrayal of justice” and are now calling for a public inquiry